When I read online yesterday that the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell had suspended Saint's Head Coach Sean Payton for the year, my first reaction was "You gotta be kidding me!", but as I read on it all be came clearer to me and this is how I see it. Obviously, somewhere there Sean lied to someone in the league. He had already been warned once and told the league he was cleaning things up, which he definitely didn't do. He was also accused of telling people before they went to testify that the organization needed to have their "ducks in a row". (A threat maybe?) But as we look at the situation here I agree the league had to come down hard. I am surprised they did it harder on Payton than they did for Gregg William's, but as the head coach, it is your ship. It goes where you tell it to go.
Now it will be interesting to see the repercussions from this and how it plays out. General Manager Mickey Loomis will be suspended for half the season, though he WILL be allowed to handle the draft, training camp and everything leading up to the season. Payton is gone for the year. Now Ram's defensive coordinator William's is gone "Indefinitely", which is going to be at least a season, I am thinking maybe 2 or 3 unless he gets down on his knees and begs. And I have no love loss for William's. He showed his ego a few years back with his comment about "Look-Out hits" on Peyton Manning. Even if you do it, what kind of Einstein goes on a radio show and says you are targeting the other teams quarterback in the Super Bowl. This gets even more interesting knowing that Drew Bree's is already involved in contentious contract negotiations. And the team could very well lose defensive playmaker Jonathon Vilma if they decide, he too, lied to the league. Vilma being the only player named at this point. What quarterback wants to have the franchise tag hanging over their head when they lost their head coach, general manager and defensive leader for at least half a year?
Finally, comes the question, how did the league know about these accusations? I really have mixed feelings here, and it is hard to debate this fact with a non-sports related person. It just doesn't make sense to them. Warren Sapp, former pro-bowler and now league analyst for the NFL Network, stated on his twitter that he has very solid sources telling him that the snitch was in fact, former Saint's tight end Jeremy Shockey. Shockey, of course, denies the claims. Again, I do not argue with any of the punishments, they are all deserved up to this point, but the locker room is hollowed ground for a lot of the people involved. To me it is no different than sitting with your family confessing to a crime, and then finding out your brother or sister went and told the police. And we aren't talking murder here, maybe a little grand larceny is a better fit. You teammates are your brothers, for some people even closer than that. To know that what you say in a locker room could be open fodder for the media, fans or the league really touches a cord with me. I have coached in arena football, and just about every team I played with had a "sack pot", or one for turnovers or special teams plays. Though I have never heard of one for actually hurting anyone, big hits were certainly encouraged. I think you also see how sore of a subject it is for former players as well. For Sapp to bring these to light and actually name names, while he is en employee of the NFL, could put his job at risk for revealing whistleblowers, though he says that his information did not come form anyone in the league offices nor would he ask anyone from the league offices.
This is the kind of punishment that could lead the Saint's back to the days of the"Ain'ts". The league set a precedent with this one and the ripples could be felt for years to come as the League puts their foot down, teams have to re-think the way they do business and the players are left to wonder who can they really trust.

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